PHIL & TECH 3:1 Fall 1997van der Valk, Cloning and Autonomous Technology/85
was completely medically safe? If the answer is clearly no, a permanent anddefinite ban on human cloning could effectively spoil the enthusiasm in researchand thereby prevent the technology to arise at all. Jonas undertakes to establishsuch a final conclusion. He compares clones to twins, but with the importantdifference of a time-lag in between: clones are unsimultaneous twins. His majormoral premise is that every human being has a right to a totally new anduncorrupted life of his or her own. According to Jonas, an open future is an
essential precondition for personal creativity. The clone's personal self-realizationand his relation to other people would be thoroughly spoiled by the continuousinterference of the preceding life-example of the elder clone-twin brother orsister, whether it be a Nobel prize winner, a beauty king or queen, or just one of its own parents who asked for a clone baby in order to have their own geneticchild in spite of their infertility. So cloning should be banned because everybodyhas the right to find his own way in life and be a surprise to himself.Jonas assumes that his declaration of a right to an individual open futurecan get around the difficult question of genetic determinism. On this point,however, I have to disagree with him. Jonas says that the prescience of the virtuesand vices of the genetic predecessor will interfere disturbingly in the clone's freeunfolding of his own plan of life. No question about that, but it makes a relevantmoral difference whether genetic determinism is true or not. If it is true, the harmis caused by the clone's parents or parent, who left their child bereft of a uniqueset of genes; if it is not, the damage is done by third parties, fostering misplacedexpectations regarding this genetic copy, who in reality is a unique individual. Inthis second case, the parent or parents cannot be held responsible for the fact thatother people do not understand the mistake of genetic determinism. Forbiddingcloning as an infertility treatment for this reason would be like forbidding Jewishpeople, for instance, to have a baby because some other people are prejudicedagainst Jews.The actual influence of our genes on our lives is largely an empiricalquestion. Proponents of cloning as an optional infertility treatment are eager topoint to the small genetic differences caused by extra nuclear DNA, and even thenurture theory is back in town. Summarizng my conclusion: given the fact thatgenetic determinism presents an empirical problem, the permissibility of cloningadults from adults can not be decided on
grounds. This implies that a finalban is not justified so far.